There’s nothing like going back to stand-up after a six month break to make you realise why you gave it up in the first place. The last time I was doing stand-up regularly was during the Funniest Person in Austin contest. I succeeded in the ‘person in Austin’ part. I haven’t really missed it that much so when I was asked if I wanted to MC this week I was a bit hesitant, though flattered to be remembered as the one comic who wouldn’t be going anywhere for the Thanksgiving holidays. I was worried that I might forget how to do it, though all I really forgot was how to be funny.
The trouble with coming back after that long is that I was a bit sick of all my old material – that’s defined as the material that I know inside out and that gets decent laughs. So instead I wrote new material, that was moderately hilarious when drunk last week at 2am and that I couldn’t quite remember when I got onstage last night and stumbled over the bits that might have actually been funny. It’s always the same after a crummy set- you hope that no-one will give you that pitying and false ‘good set Maggie’ line afterwards because you know it isn’t true but you also feel hurt that no-one even attempted to lie to make you feel better.We didn’t have a show last night in honour of Thanksgiving so I’ve had plenty of time to work on my material and delivery. But every silver lining has a cloud and instead I’ve been working on my solo shows. The good in all this is that I still have four more shows this weekend in which to become funny and I’ve earned some money this week.
Unfortunately I’ve already spent it on a new Betsey Johnson dress. I love Betsey Johnson dresses, she’s almost my favourite designer, second only to Old Navy. This is my third new dress this year and I still haven’t worn the other two out but I like the look of them in my closet. I have girly moments where I go into the closet in secret, like a little transvestite boy and try on my pretty dresses. I’ve even got heels that are way too big for me and a string of pearls and red lipstick that I apply sloppily to make it more authentic.
There’s something about the Betsey Johnson store that makes me feel a bit fabulous, all that pink just sucks out all the testosterone and any suggestion that I should save my money. There’s no mirror in the changing room so you have to swish open the curtain and reveal yourself to the staff before you’ve even had the chance to see how inappropriate you look. And the size 2 staff always have helpful ideas. I tried on one dress that should have had a built-in electric shock if anyone over the age of 20 picked it up. It was too short and had oddly puffy sleeves. The sales assistant dashed off, promising me the perfect solution. She came back with a leopard skin print cardigan and forced me to put on. Then instead of buttoning it, she tied the ends of the cardigan together in a knot, giving me the appearance of a *cheerleading prostitute (*normally seen on the streets of Dallas using their pom poms to spell out the words T-I-T-W-A-N-K in semaphore to passing motorists). I removed the leopard and also declined the kind suggestion of silver leggings and bought a dress that had been marked down 50 percent because when you’re broke, 150 dollars is a bargain for a closet peep-show outfit.
On the subject of girlyness, there’s been a lot of articles recently about women comedians (also here) and how hard it is for a woman to succeed in stand-up. I couldn’t take the first article very seriously because it’s in a magazine called ‘Uplift’. The byline is ‘the magazine for women who won’t be put down’ (unless you inject them with sodium pentobarbital). This so-called alternative mag is promoting an event called Ladyfest whilst bemoaning the fact that women aren’t being taken seriously. Brilliant. Plus, the Ladyfest ladies comedy night features 5 women – and 2 men. Presumably to mop up the synchronised bleeding. There’s various hypotheses in these articles about how club owners are sexist and how it’s tougher for a woman to be out on the road and of course how women are less funny than men. I’m hoping to live up to my gender expectations onstage tonight.